Feb. 27, 2005

PARK RIDGE, IL – Ohio State University has been named the recipient of the third annual Big Ten SuperFan Cup in recognition of its marketing and promotional campaign that helped boost attendance at women’s basketball games over the 2004-05 season.

Ohio State increased its Conference home game attendance by 81.9 percent this season as the Buckeyes welcomed an average of 7,259 fans to eight League contests, compared to last year’s eight-game average of 3,991 patrons per outing. In 2004-05, the Buckeyes shattered the Ohio State (13,320) and Big Ten (17,142) single-game attendance mark in the final home game of the season, when OSU sold out Value City Arena with 17,525 fans. The previous Big Ten record was set on January 20, 2002, when Wisconsin welcomed 17,142 fans to the Kohl Center for a game against Minnesota. Sunday’s total was also the third highest attendance figure in the country this year.

In the fall of 2002, the Big Ten Conference launched the SuperFan campaign, a promotion designed to boost attendance for women’s basketball regular-season games. This season’s promotion, which honored the institution with the greatest annual percentage increase in average attendance for home Conference games, allowed each institution within the Conference to publicize its women’s home basketball games using additional marketing tools provided by the Big Ten. The League distributed both marketing and financial support to all 11 universities and encouraged Conference schools to use the customized materials from the SuperFan kit. Michigan State was the first university to be awarded the SuperFan Cup as the Spartans generated an astounding 77 percent attendance increase for home games during the 2002-03 season. In 2003-04, Purdue earned the annual traveling trophy after it ranked second in the nation for increased attendance and fifth in average attendance in 12 home games last season. The Boilermakers averaged 10,105 fans per game – an increase of 3,051 per contest from 2002-03.

The League currently boasts seven teams in the top 25 among national attendance leaders. Over the eight-game Conference home schedule this year, Minnesota led all Big Ten teams with an average of 10,186, while Penn State (9,389) and Purdue (9,094) were second and third, respectively. Ohio State (7,259), Michigan State (6,974) and Wisconsin (6,362) also averaged above this year’s Conference-only home-game mark of 5,595 as well.

In addition to the League’s single-game record being shattered on the final day of the regular season, the Big Ten also had a defining attendance mark last week on Sunday, February 20. Of the four League games played that day, all four were contested in front of more than 10,000 fans for a combined average of 13,367 patrons per game. Ohio State at Michigan State (14,066) and Purdue at Indiana (10,022) were each single-game records for the home team, while Wisconsin at Minnesota brought in 14,203 fans, which was second all-time in Golden Gopher history. A total of 15,177 fans were on hand in State College for Northwestern at Penn State.

Last year, the Big Ten ranked second nationally to the Big 12 with 778,125 fans attending League home games, shattering the previous Conference record of 685,361 set in 2002-03. Over the 2003-04 season, an average of 5,085 fans attended all home games at Big Ten institutions, which surpassed the previous Conference record of 4,530 patrons per outing in 1998-99. The Big Ten has led the nation in attendance seven of the last 12 years, most recently in 1999. Purdue, Penn State and Minnesota ranked among the top 10 national attendance leaders in 2003-04, as all three averaged over 9,000 fans per game.

The 2005 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will take place this week, March 3-7. In front of a single-session record of 9,417 fans last year, second-seeded Purdue defeated top-seeded Penn State 59-58 for the Tournament title. For the week, a Tournament record of 37,635 spectators witnessed Big Ten women’s basketball at its finest.